New York State Bicycle, In-line Skates, Skateboard, and Non-motorized
New York State roads have seen a great increase
in use by bicyclists, pedestrians and in-line skaters who now share the
roads with motor vehicles. In some instances, this has led to an increase
in the number of injuries to bicyclists, pedestrians and in-line skaters.
One of the best ways to prevent possible injuries is to become familiar
with the New York State laws and regulations that have been instituted
to protect all the users of our streets and highways.
The following information is intended as a synopsis of these laws. For your easy reference, we have summarized the New York State laws, rules and regulations that apply to bicyclists, pedestrians and in-line skaters. The actual section of the Vehicle and Traffic Law being cited appears in parentheses along with relevant links to NY State websites that can provide further information and clarification. The New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee has also produced a brochure, “Sharing the Road Safely,” that answers many of the common questions about Pedestrian, Bicycle and In-line Skating Laws. This brochure can be obtained at www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/shar-bro.htm.
Bicyclists and In-line Skaters and non-motorized Scooters
The bicycle helmet law has changed.
As of July 1, 2002, persons less than 14 years old are required
Young people less than 14 years old are required to wear safety certified bicycle helmets when they are operating or riding a bicycle. Children 1 to 4 years old must wear certified bicycle helmets and ride in specially designed child safety seats. Children less than 1 year old are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle. Bicyclists and in-line skaters and children on non-motorized scooters who violate the law are subject to traffic tickets. Parents can be held responsible for violations by their minor children and any parent or guardian whose child violates the helmet law is subject to a fine of up to $50.00. (Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1230)
Bicyclists and in-line skaters have the legal right to share the road on most public highways, but they are prohibited on interstate highways and expressways. Additionally, authorities with jurisdiction over other controlled-access highways may prohibit bicycles.
Section # 375 – Equipment
Rider may not wear more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or other audio device while riding.
Section # 1232 – Riding on bicycles
Rider must ride on a permanent seat;
Feet must be on pedals;
Bike must carry only the number of persons for which it is designed and equipped.
Section # 1233 – Clinging to vehicles
Attaching bike to other vehicle being operated on roadway is prohibited.
Certain communities in New York State have passed local ordinances regarding helmet use for bicyclists. These are in addition to the New York State law. For example, Rockland and Erie Counties require all people riding bicycles on county property, regardless of age, to wear an approved bicycle helmet.
Article 1 Definition of words and phrases pertaining to bicycles.
Section 102. Definition of Bicycle, Bicycle lane and Bicycle
102. Bicycle. Every two or three wheeled device upon
which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a
belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a tandem or tricycle, except
that it shall not include such a device having solid tires and intended
for use only on a sidewalk by pre-teenage children.
102-a. Bicycle lane. A portion of the roadway which has
been designated by striping, signing and pavement markings for the preferential
or exclusive use of bicycles.
102-b. Bicycle path. A path physically separated from
motorized vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and either within
the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way and which
is intended for the use of bicycles.
New York State Traffic Laws
for Bicyclists and Play Devices
Article 9 Use of earphones while driving or riding
a bicycle (Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 375
It shall be
unlawful to operate upon any public highway in this state a motor vehicle,
limited use automobile, limited use motorcycle or bicycle while the operator
is wearing more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or
other audio device.
Article 34 Operation of Bicycles and Play Devices (Play devices
include in-line skates, skateboards and non-motorized scooters)
Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings that apply to
other drivers with obvious exceptions and special rules.
Bicyclists must ride with traffic. Moving with traffic makes bicyclists
more visible, makes their movements more predictable to motorists, and
prevents interference with the flow of traffic and pedestrians.
If bicycle lanes are available, cyclists must use them.
Where no bicycle lanes are available cyclists may use the right shoulder
on the area near the right edge or curb of the roadway.
Bicyclists may travel side-by-side on a roadway unless they are being
overtaken by other vehicles. Then they must ride single file. Bicyclists
may only travel more than two abreast on a shoulder, lane or path intended
for bicycling if there is sufficient space. However, they must be single
file when passing vehicles, pedestrians and other bicyclists or in-line
ADDITIONALLY BICYCLISTS MUST:
Signal for turns whether driving on a roadway, a bike
lane or bike path.
Sit on the bike seat, not the fender or handlebars. Keep feet on the
pedals, and never carry more people on the bike than the number for which
it was designed.
Keep at least one hand on the handlebar at all times.
Never attach yourself or your bike to another vehicle on the roadway.
Never drive a bicycle with a motor attached on any public highway.
Never wear more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or
other audio device.
Report a bicycle accident to the New York State Department of Motor
Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the incident. If no motor vehicle was
involved, use a bicycle report (MV- I 04C). If a motor vehicle was involved,
use a motor vehicle accident report (MV-104A). Forms are available at
all DMV offices. Parents may file on behalf of minor children.
All bicycles should have the following equipment:
A brake that is capable of making the bike tires skid on dry level pavement.
A bell, horn
or other device that can be heard at least 100 feet away. Sirens and whistles
are not permitted.
between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise must be equipped
with a white front headlight visible in darkness for at least 500 feet,
and a red taillight visible for at least 300 feet.
A bicycle, when
purchased new and/or driven at night, must have reflective tires, or wide-angle,
spoke-mounted reflectors. Reflectors must be colorless or amber for front
wheels, and colorless or red for rear wheels.
Exemptions: Police cyclists must obey all vehicle
and traffic laws. However, when operating as an emergency vehicle they
may disregard certain regulations, as long as they operate with due care
and do not endanger the safety of others.
Section 1146. Drivers to exercise due care.
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary,
every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with
any bicyclist, pedestrian or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall
give warning by sounding the horn when necessary. For the purposes of
this section, the term “domestic animal” shall mean domesticated
sheep, cattle and goats which are under the supervision and control of
New York State
Traffic Laws for In-line Skates, Skateboards and Non-motorized Scooters*
These laws are basically the same as those for bicyclists.
* For the purpose of this list in-line skaters, skateboarders and riders
of non-motorized scooters shall be referred to as gliders.
(Vehicle & Traffic Law Sections 1230 to 1238)
Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings
that apply to other drivers with obvious exceptions and special rules.
In-line skaters, skateboarders and non-motorized scooters must glide
with traffic. Moving with traffic makes gliders more visible, makes their
movements more predictable to motorists, and prevents interference with
the flow of traffic and pedestrians.
If bicycle or in-line skating lanes are available, they must be used.
Where no lanes are available gliders may use the right shoulder on
the area near the right edge or curb of the roadway.
Gliders may travel side-by-side on a roadway unless they are being overtaken
by other vehicles. Then they must ride single file. They may only travel
more than two abreast on a shoulder, lane or path intended for bicycling
or skating if there is sufficient space. However, they must be single
file when passing vehicles, pedestrians and other bicyclists or in-line
ADDITIONALLY IN-LINE SKATERS, SKATEBOARDERS AND
RIDERS OF NON-MOTORIZED SCOOTERS:
Must not carry any package, bundle or article that obstructs
their vision in any direction.
Should not skate or glide outside from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2
hour before sunrise unless they are wearing an outer jacket or other clothing
made of laminated or reflective material that is a light or bright color.
Persons less than 14 years old are required to wear a certified bicycle
helmet when riding a non-motorized scooter.
In-line skate manufacturers are required to put warning
labels on skates urging users to wear protective gear and to equip skates
with stopping devices. In addition, retailers who sell in-line skates
also are required to sell protective gear such as helmets, elbow and knee
pads and wrist guards. Manufacturers or retailers who don’t comply can
be fined as much as $500.
For safety tips when using bicycles, in-line skates and
other play devices please refer to www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/bike-ndx.htm#Tips.